Science and technology researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in September will unveil a house and a car — made from components printed on a 3-D printer — that can transfer energy to one another. The finished products will debut at the Department of Energy's EERE Industry Day.
News site 3dprint.com reported that Clayton Homes, the largest U.S. manufacturer of modular homes, and Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill worked with Oak Ridge to design and build the house and car.
Both were printed on a fast 3-D printer called BAAM with a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer material, similar to the material used to make the world’s first 3-D printed car in 2014, according to the publication.
Houses and cars printed on 3-D printers are still rare, but this project is a first among them for two reasons.
First, both structures were printed from the same material. And second, a wireless connection between the two allows the electric-hybrid car, which has a natural gas generator, to power the home when the structure’s solar panels do not produce enough electricity to keep it up and running. In return, the home’s excess solar energy can charge the vehicle.
Roderick Jackson, Oak Ridge’s head of building envelope systems research, called the printed pair “a radical version of 3-D printing” that cut time and materials by 40% when compared with similar, traditionally built cars and houses.
3dprint.com called the project "awesome," adding, "The future of homebuilding lies in energy efficiencies and working with the latest technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of homes... Certainly this integrated platform will act as a springboard for future concepts within home construction, energy conservation and car manufacturing.”